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The Justice Department files a landmark suit against Google

October 20, 2020, 3:11 PM UTC

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On Tuesday, the U.S. Justice Department dropped an antitrust case of significance not seen since its case against Microsoft over 20 years ago.

Alongside 11 states, the DOJ alleges that Alphabet’s Google used its dominance in online search to quash competition and spent billions to make itself the default engine on browsers. 

“For many years, Google has used anticompetitive tactics to maintain and extend its monopolies in the markets for general search services, search advertising, and general search text advertising—the cornerstones of its empire,” the lawsuit reads.

In response, Google called the lawsuit “deeply flawed.”

“People use Google because they choose to—not because they’re forced to or because they can’t find alternatives,” a spokesperson said via email, adding that a more comprehensive statement is forthcoming.

“We’re pleased the DOJ has taken this key step in holding Google accountable for the ways it has blocked competition, locked people into using its products, and achieved a market position so dominant they refuse to even talk about it out loud,” CEO and founder of Google competitor DuckDuckGo, Gabriel Weinberg, tweeted regarding the news. 

The European Union has also fined Google billions in recent years for anti-competitive behavior, such as favoring its own shopping business over others on its platform. Alphabet still awaits approval from E.U. regulators over its $2.1 billion bid for Fitbit.

And beyond Alphabet, the DOJ case will be heavily watched as other tech giants—Facebook, Apple, and Amazon—also face the harsh limelight of antitrust scrutiny.

SPAC FATIGUE? A blank-check company formed by Cerberus Capital Management now says it expects to raise less than previously thought. Cerberus Telecom Acquisition, a SPAC focusing on its namesake, is now looking to raise $300 million instead of $400 million, per a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission

BLAST FROM THE NOT-SO-DISTANT PAST: Last year, a time that feels like eons ago, WeWork co-founder Adam Neumann was offered a much-maligned $185 million consulting deal as part of his exit package from the troubled company. That deal may no longer be in force, according to WeWork Executive Chairman and SoftBank executive Marcelo Claure during The Wall Street Journal’s Monday tech conference. Neumann only received a part of the $185 million, according to the Journal. But that means that he can now compete with WeWork if he so wishes. Neumann had previously sued SoftBank when it terminated a $3 billion tender offer in which he was set to sell many of his WeWork shares.

Lucinda Shen
Twitter: @shenlucinda


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